Gaetano Gagliano – the passing of a cultural trendsetter

Gaetano Gagliano – the passing of a cultural trendsetter. I still think back to my first week at St. Joseph’s nine years ago, when I was asked to design something “incredible” for Gaetano’s (our company’s founder and patriarch) upcoming 90th birthday. No pressure! I managed to capture the signatures of all 1700 St. Joseph associates across the country and combined them with iconic pictures of Gaetano through the years. Today, it hangs proudly outside the executive offices at our Print Campus in Concord for all to see. I remember that he took the time to thank me personally and tell me how much it meant to him that I captured the signatures of his Patriots. There simply isn’t a better feeling then when your creativity and basic humanity get acknowledged for something that touches people’s hearts – and he knew that. Until a few years ago, and well into his 90s, he would walk into my office, espresso in hand, and wish me a good morning – amazing.

Gaetano was beyond doubt a cultural trendsetter and remarkable man, who said, “On the right foundation you can build anything you want,” and, as such, began his company on genuine values and guiding principles:

  • Understanding our customer’s needs and delivering upon them
  • Fostering individual initiative, mutual respect, and personal dignity
  • Promoting and supporting a culture of continuous learning
  • Replenishing the environment upon which our business and quality of life depend
  • Reinvesting in our business to fund future growth, value and innovation
  • Giving back to the communities in which we live and work – through the arts, volunteerism, and most importantly – family

It goes without saying, that starting a business from humble beginnings (as a newly landed immigrant from Sicily, in the basement of his Toronto home), to emerging as an Order of Canada recipient with a leading communications company – now celebrating its 60th year – is a feat in and of itself. But to do it all, while bringing up ten children and living by a code based on continually giving of one’s self is extraordinary. His enduring presence reminds us to celebrate family, business, community and the diversity of the world around us. As Tony Gagliano, his son and our CEO puts it, “In a world in which innovation is crucial to success, it has been our experience that taking the road less traveled often leads to the most exciting destinations.”

Gaetano, you were a trailblazer, and we hope that you are off to the most exciting of destinations… you will be missed deeply and wholly. You were truly admired.


Michael Chase, CMO
St. Joseph Communications


Posted on April 19, 2016 in Leadership

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About the Author

Michael Chase - a true hybrid – part strategist, part data monkey, part creative director, part global growth hacker (when you're doing bic pen tracheotomies you still have to think of EBITDA) and through and through an innovator.

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